Benbrook Library / Musings

Special Offers You Can Refuse (But It’ll Cost Ya)



I love the Kindle. I own one of the first generation Kindle Keyboard models, and it provides a great experience whenever I go e with my reading. When patrons ask for e-reader recommendations, I tell them I lean towards Kindle due to its user friendliness, functionality, and, most importantly, simpler library e-book check out process. Yes, it’s been all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows everywhere for the Kindle and I thus far, but now, traces of storm clouds, liverwurst, and gray skies have crept onto the scene.

While shopping on Amazon recently, I was delighted to see that the most basic model of the Kindle may now be had for the low, low, one-time price of $69. That’s $50 cheaper than the least expensive Nook, and $230 cheaper than the least expensive iPad, so for those looking for the most cost-effective e-reading option, it’s a fantastic deal. However, as with all too many fantastic deals, this one has some irksome strings attached. If you look just below that tasty price tag on the product page, you’ll see that it comes with “special offers.” This is Amazon’s sugarcoated way of telling you that your bargain reader comes with gentle, yet fairly ubiquitous, ads for their products. Now, it’s not as if those annoying banner ads that have no obvious way to click away pop up on your screen while you’re in the middle of reading, but there is always a small ad at the bottom of the home/library screen, and the screen saver is a full-page ad. To be fair, the ads are not very intrusive, and it thankfully takes multiple clicks to complete a purchase, but I guess I’m mostly miffed by the fact that they’re there at all. After paying over $70 (after sales tax) for something that then becomes my personal property, I don’t appreciate being sold to. At best, the ads are irritating and tacky, and at worst, they’re deceptive and may lure less tech-savvy users into unwanted purchases.

Of course, it’s possible to secure your very own Kindle without “special offers,” but you’ll have to shell out an extra twenty bucks. You can either buy the special offer-free Kindle at the time of your initial order, or you can pay the extra twenty later to have them removed. While I feel compelled to whine about the ads, I do appreciate Amazon’s offering an unbeatable price. If you’re budget-conscious and can tolerate a little product peddling, the Kindle is still the way to go in my (e)book.

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